Cognitive radio (CR) is a newly emerging technology, which has been recently proposed to implement some kind of intelligence to allow a radio terminal to automatically sense, recognize, and make wise use of any available radio frequency spectrum at a given time. The use of the available frequency spectrum is purely on an opportunity driven basis.
Description of Cognitive Radio
In other words, it can utilize any idle spectrum sector for the exchange of information and stop using it the instant the primary user of the spectrum sector needs to use it. Thus, cognitive radio is also sometimes called smart radio, frequency agile radio, police radio, or adaptive software radio,1 and so on. For the same reason, the cognitive radio techniques can, in many cases, exempt licensed use of the spectrum that is otherwise not in use or is lightly used; this is done without infringing upon the rights of licensed users or causing harmful interference to licensed operations
The only difference with SDR (Software Defined Radio) is that a cognitive radio needs to scan a wide range of frequency spectra before deciding which band to use, instead of a predefined one, as an SDR terminal does. One of the most important characteristic features of an SDR terminal is that its signal is processed almost completely in the digital domain, needing very little analogue circuit. This brings a tremendous benefit to make the terminal very flexible (for a multimode terminal) and ultrasmall size with the help of state-of-the-art microelectronics technology.
As the wireless standards evolved, the access techniques used also exhibited increase in efficiency, capacity and scalability. The first generation wireless standards used plain TDMA and FDMA. In the wireless channels, TDMA proved to be less efficient in handling the high data rate channels as it requires large guard periods to alleviate the multipath impact. Similarly, FDMA consumed more bandwidth for guard to avoid inter carrier interference. So in second generation systems, one set of standard used the combination of FDMA and TDMA and the other set introduced an access scheme called CDMA.
Usage of CDMA increased the system capacity, but as a drawback placed a soft limit on it rather than the hard limit (i.e. a CDMA network will not reject new clients when it approaches its limits, resulting in a denial of service to all clients when the network overloads). Data rate is also increased as this access scheme (providing the network is not reaching its capacity) is efficient enough to handle the multipath channel. This enabled the third generation systems, such as IS-2000, UMTS, HSXPA, 1xEV-DO, TD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA, to use CDMA as the access scheme. However, the issue with CDMA is that it suffers from poor spectral flexibility and computationally intensive time-domain equalization (high number of multiplications per second) for wideband channels
Spectrum Sensing: detecting the unused spectrum and sharing it without harmful interference with other users, it is an important requirement of the Cognitive Radio network to sense spectrum holes, detecting primary users is the most efficient way to detect spectrum holes.
Spectrum Management: Capturing the best available spectrum to meet user communication requirements. Cognitive radios should decide on the best spectrum band to meet the Quality of service requirements over all available spectrum bands, therefore spectrum management functions are required for Cognitive radios.